Huawei Audio Lab - FreeBuds - techxmedia

Huawei Audio Lab: The formidable technology behind tiny FreeBuds

Mobile & Wearables Technology
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True Wireless Stereo (TWS) headphones enable you to listen and communicate freely without being restricted by cables or wires, and TWS headphones with active noise cancellation (ANC) make it possible to immerse yourself in a world of sound. Huawei launched the first-ever headphones featuring intelligent dynamic noise reduction technology in 2020, the HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro, advancing TWS technology to new heights.

Recently, Huawei opened up the anechoic chamber, which is free from echo, in its audio lab to outside observers, providing an in-depth look at the R&D that goes into Huawei’s noise reduction technology for TWS headphones. The anechoic chamber is used for collecting sound data in acoustic tests. It minimizes internal sound reflection, external noise, and provides a simulation environment for testing and verifying sound parameter curves.

Huawei’s anechoic lab is located underground to ensure as quiet an environment as possible. The thick walls and mufflers in the ventilation ducts prevent outside noise from seeping in.

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You’ll notice that there aren’t any walls, floors or ceilings in the anechoic chamber. Instead, the whole room is covered with sound-absorbing and noise-reducing panels, composed of sound-absorbing materials designed in wedge shapes, with tiny surface holes for absorbing sound, and minimizing sound reflection.

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Human sound perception is not just reliant on the ear to pick up sound but is also affected by the structure of the human pinna, ear canal, and other body parts. When the sound enters the ear, it is processed in a number of ways, including refraction, diffraction, and inflection, before being sensed by the nerves of the brain. The brain then accurately determines the orientation, tone, and volume of the acoustics.

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In order to accurately capture the impact of such processes on sound acquisition, the anechoic chamber is equipped with specialized human head simulation recording equipment, which simulates the pinna and ear canal, and places two miniature omnidirectional microphones in the ear canal of the equipment (close to the ear drum) to reproduce all of the effects sound has on the human ear.

In addition, the anechoic chamber comes equipped with speakers that are distributed across multiple directions, and are capable of playing multi-band sound. Engineers operating from the workbench have the speakers play a wide range of noise sources encountered in daily life. The noise is picked up by the simulated human head recording device to test and verify its acoustic characteristics.

Prior to the launch of the HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i, Huawei engineers had tested and verified the noise reduction performance of the headphones in many of the most common environments, such as in underground subways and cafes, to ensure that the headphones deliver optimally comfortable noise reduction at all times.

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This type of anechoic lab is just one of many Huawei labs that perform groundbreaking R&D on a daily basis. The Huawei audio department has six R&D centers spread around the world, and employs more than three-hundred audio R&D engineers. In Europe, where acoustic research is most advanced, Huawei has established a number of audio labs, including the German Acoustic Research Center, which conducts noise analysis and AI noise reduction algorithm research, as well as the Finnish Multimedia Audio Lab, which conducts noise reduction tests for the different acoustic characteristics in audio products.

Thanks to this strong technical foundation, Huawei has been able to release more than 30 audio products in five different audio categories, in just the past three years alone. The company has continuously invested in research and innovation in more than four domains that are key to enhanced audio experience: Wearing comfort, noise reduction, sound quality, and wireless connectivity.

Huawei has also made great strides in the TWS field. In 2020, Huawei’s flagship HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro achieved pioneering noise reduction effects. The HUAWEI FreeBuds 3, the first-ever open-fit active noise-canceling headphones, offering a new noise reduction paradigm.

The recently-released HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i have achieved widespread acclaim as “must-have TWS active noise canceling headphones” by the media, users, and industry insiders alike. The product also features pristine sound quality, and supports a staggering 10 hours of continuous audio playback.

Huawei’s relentless commitment to R&D makes it well positioned to deliver the kind of premium audio products that make listening more immersive than ever!


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